SDCC 2017 [Panel Review]: Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation – Ready Player One – Blade Runner 2049 – Justice League.

“Reverend Jog” Alex P.SO Ampadu

WARNER BROS PICTURES PRESENTATION (Saturday – Hall H) – Hall H, the proverbial promised land. If you are fortunate enough to be amongst the multitude of nerds, fanboys, press hounds, aliens and superheroes who have fought, bled, camped, and waited to make it to the mecca of geekery.. consider yourself lucky. The tension in the air was palpable as fans from around the universe waited in feverish anticipation for any morsel of culture the WB overlords cared to disperse amongst the congregation.

Ringleader Chris Hardwick kicked off the festivities after an impressive film reel featuring Mad Max, Harry Potter and more wet the collective appetite of the audience. The first film on the queue was the dystopian VR joyride Ready Player One. Hall H attendees stood and applauded as OG film God Steven Spielberg took the stage to present his new vision. The short clip shown was frantic and explosive, a virtual reality smorgasbord of 80’s references vomited into a dystopian junkyard. The best part of watching the footage was attempting to catch all of the 80’s characters featured in the VR world. It was difficult, but I definitely remember seeing a Tron cycle, the Iron Giant, Freddy Krueger and a DeLorean amongst the madness. Novel writer Ernest Cline was also present and shared a funny story about how he actually drives a DeLorean and conned Spielberg into signing it.

Next up was the highly anticipated (depending on your age) Blade Runner 2049. The panel began with a timeline of the Blade Runner mythology, featuring footage from the original film. I really appreciated this “previously on… “ moment and kind of hope they include it in the actual movie. Most millennials have no idea what a Blade Runner is and would benefit from the catch up. What followed was probably the most “WTF” moment of the show when a Jared Leto hologram dressed like a 70’s wedding singer (you heard that right) presented the panel. I sort of feel like Leto is actually a hologram in real life and we’ve been deceived this entire time.

My impression of the footage shown for Blade Runner 2049 is that it looks authentic AF. It seems like director Denis Villeneuve picked up directly where Ridley Scott left off. The music, tone and action in the clips match that of the 1982 film. When Hardwick asked Villeneuve why he decided to direct the film he simply replied, “I didn’t want anyone else to fuck it up.”

The show ended with the moment everyone was waiting for, the DC panel. Firstly, fans were treated to a reel featuring all of the DC characters. It was the same intro that was shown before Wonder Woman, except–this time–you could see the individuals clearly. It’s a reminder of how many amazing characters DC has yet to put to screen and the promising future ahead. Next, there was a reel featuring all of the new DC upcoming film slate. It featured:

The Batman
Wonder Woman 2
Suicide Squad 2
Green Lantern Corps

I’m going to have to assume that DC was officially announcing that these films are the ones currently in production. DC/WB has has a tendency to announce various movies that may or may not be released, so hopefully they will stick to the schedule. The most surprising announcement was that the Flash movie is now called Flashpoint, the time travelling storyline from the comics. The Flashpoint storyline gave birth to a few cool episodes of The Flash TV show on CW as well as an awesome animated film. The implications of doing a Flash film is even more interesting because it could be used to ret-con some of the current DCEU continuity, a convenient solution to some of the issues some fans have with the DCEU (here’s looking at you, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther).

The feverish horde was fed another morsel in the form of Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman. Mamoa is a real life rock star, he raged through Hall H shredding a trident like an air guitar. Once the Justice League footage screened, Mamoa threw his chair on the stage most likely to start a mosh pit. It’s awesome to see an actor genuinely having a great time portraying a role. The footage was brief, but we got to see what I believe was the Ocean Master’s vast undersea armada and it looked awesome.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, in this case the bat in the room. Recently it was leaked that Ben Affleck may not be donning the cape and cowl for much longer. Affleck looked happy and in spirit (albeit maybe a slight bit uncomfortable), and assured the crowd that playing Batman is an opportunity of a lifetime. He also did not specifically say that he was going to continue as the Dark Knight, so he may have just been acting diplomatic. Only time will tell. Gal Gadot was stunning and pretty much led the panel (in the same way Wonder Woman is leading the DCEU). Ezra Miller was hilarious and dressed in cosplay (it’s also worth noting that many of his scenes stole the trailer, and Miller plays a more Spidey version of Barry than Gustin), Ray Fisher was enthusiastic and Henry Cavill was… notably absent.

As you can see above, the footage was solid and an obvious step up from the earlier Justice League trailer. Some highlights were Wonder Woman kicking ass, Cyborg hot-wiring the Batmobile, and Aquaman body-surfing a parademon and flicking his hair Baywatch style. WB Panel = 4/5 Bibles.

-Alex “P.SO Ampadu’

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